The organisers stopped the rally with Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Subaru) later declared the winner ahead of James Belton’s Subaru with James Stafford (Darrian) third.
Triple national champion, Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) never even made it to the first stage as a nut from one of the drives came adrift. Belton took an early two second lead over Stafford (Darrian) with Boyle, five seconds off the top due to intercom woes.
Boyle moved ahead courtesy of the best times through the rest of the opening loop and led Belton by 1.8 seconds at the Waterford service park. Stafford, with an incorrect tyre choice was third from Roy White (MG S2000), who had a slight altercation with a chicane bale. Josh Moffett (Mitsubishi) led Group N and held sixth overall.
Boyle strengthened his position with two fastest times on stages four and five. On SS6, which transpired to be the final stage, he stalled at the start and later, clipped a rock, fortunately, his Subaru didn’t puncture. Belton spun on SS6 as Stafford posted the best stage time.
Boyle won by 20.5 seconds from Belton with Stafford 11 seconds back. White took fourth with Group N winner, Josh Moffett and Eoin Doyle (Ford Focus WRC) completing the top six. Doyle incurred a 75-second time penalty for exiting the service control too late. Sam Moffett (Mitsubishi), Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet), Eddie Power (Toyota Corolla WRC) and Alan Doherty (Opel Corsa) completed the top 10.
Meanwhile, the Irish crew of Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000) enjoyed a slice of good fortune as they finished third in the Geko Ypres Rally, round six of the European Rally Championship. During the final leg on Saturday, Breen punched in several fastest stage times as he matched the experienced Freddy Loix. It wasn’t long before he had overhauled the Fiesta S2000 of Hayden Paddon and slotted into third. Then, he set his sights on the similar Peugeot 207 S2000 of French ace, Bryan Bouffier. Beginning the day 46 seconds behind Bouffier, he trimmed the margin to 29 seconds with three stages left and that after he overshot and stalled on SS14. However, Bouffier had the upper hand on stages 18 and 29 and Breen appeared to settle for third. Then, on the final stage Breen went off the road and was stuck in a ditch for some time until he rejoined the rally with the help of spectators. The Waterford driver thought he had lost out on a podium finish until the stage was cancelled when the car of another competitor caught fire and blocked the stage, thankfully without injury to either crew members. With the results declared at the end of stage 19, Breen was classified third behind Bouffier and Freddy Loix, who won for a record eighth time.
Elsewhere, Alastair Fisher (Citroen DS3) won the RSAC Scottish Rally, round three of the British Rally Championship. Fisher gained in confidence especially on the closing stages with his win promoting him to second in the series behind series leader, Jukka Korhonen (Citroen), who took third on the event. Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna (Ford Fiesta) won Rally 2 beating Steve Rokland, who lost time with a gearbox mounting problem. Earlier, McKenna bent the rear axle and then struggled with errant power steering.